Debt relief scams: Part 1

Can you identify scammers?

Scams can happen in a variety of ways. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), debt relief scams are currently trending. Debt relief scams occur when someone claims to assist consumers with paying off debt. According to the FTC, with the most current debt relief scam, scammers are claiming to be affiliated with the government.

The FTC states consumers should be aware of the following to protect themselves against scammers:

  • Federal government agencies do not ask consumers to send money for unpaid loans.
  • The IRS usually contacts people about unpaid taxes via mail, not by phone.
  • Federal government agencies do not ask consumers to wire money or use a prepaid debit card to pay for anything.
  • Consumers should not rely on caller ID because scammers know how to rig phone numbers to show the wrong information (aka “spoofing”).
  • Scammers might have personal information about you before they call, so do not provide any information.
  • If you are not sure whether you are dealing with the government, look up the official phone number of the agency and call the agency directly.

It is important for consumers to be aware of scams as they can sometimes seem real. Scammers are always looking for new ways to take advantage of consumers and with the above tips, consumers can stay one step ahead.

Scams occur in various realms. According to Michigan State University Extension educator Vivian Washington, another scam that is occurring regularly is work-from-home scams. Although there are legitimate work-from-home jobs, it is important to be aware of the fake ones.

Learn more about scams at MI Money Health. If you have fallen victim to a scam or wish to sign up for email scam alerts, you can contact the FTC.

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